Cross-Country - Slim lead for Serradori/Minaudier mid-way through Rally Kazakhstan | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Cross-Country - Slim lead for Serradori/Minaudier mid-way through Rally Kazakhstan


Rally Kazakhstan, Round 2 of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies

Mathieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier currently lead Rally Kazakhstan after three of the five legs in the second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The French pairing is however being chased down by Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Dirk von Zitzewitz who have closed the gap to just 22 seconds after three long selective sections. Third position is provisionally held by Lucio Alvarez and Armand Monleon driving a Toyota Hilux Overdrive.

Rally Kazakhstan got underway on Wednesday with the first 280 kilometre selective section to the east of Aktau. Serradori, who is competing for the first time with co-driver Minaudier, set the pace in this opening section to take an early advantage of nearly two minutes. The second section, on Thursday, formed the first part of the Marathon Stage, which took the crews south to the Caspian Sea resort of Kenderly where only the competitors themselves could work on their vehicles. Despite a trouble-free day, the French duo dropped time to Al-Rajhi and finished third in the section, opening up the gap to their nearest rivals. Today, the Century CR6 crew were second in the section, slashing their advantage over Al-Rajhi.

Al-Rajhi, who won the event in 2018, had a disappointing start, but has bounced back after two great days of competition. The Saudi Arabian, co-driven by Germany’s Dirk von Zitzewitz, lost just over 12 minutes in the opening section with a navigation error, leaving him down in fourth overall. However, fastest times in SS2 and SS3 have enabled the Toyota crew to power up the leaderboard into second, now a mere 22 seconds adrift of Serradori.

Lucio Alvarez and Armand Monleon were on the pace from the outset, the Argentinean/Spanish Toyota crew second fastest through the first section despite the complicated navigation. Fifth fastest through SS2 was sufficient to maintain second overall but the pair lost out to a charging Al-Rajhi today and dropped to third, 15 minutes and 45 seconds adrift.

Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist lead X-Raid’s challenge and the Swedes hold fourth in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy mid-way through Rally Kazakhstan. They were fifth in the opening section but climbed the leaderboard to fourth after SS2, having finished just 47 seconds adrift of Al-Rajhi in the first part of the Marathon Stage. Today they dropped time with seventh in the section, but maintained position.

Fifth overall are Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov. Krotov, who also finished fifth in 2019, made a steady start and fourth through the second section moved the MINI crew from seventh to sixth overall. Today, they have again moved up the leaderboard with another fourth fastest time as the crews powered their way through the 331 kilometre section from Kenderly back to Aktau.

Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot are sixth ahead of Miroslav Zapletal and Marek Sykora, who were just off the podium, in fourth, last time out in Kazakhstan. Austin Jones, who is currently leading the T4 standings courtesy of the category victory on the opening round in Spain, is having another great event and is eighth overall. The American, co-driven by Gustavo Gugelmin, is once again the pacesetter in his Can Am Maverick X3 and despite suffering with hanging dust in the first section, the crew claimed the T4 stage win and sixth place overall. They adopted a conservative approach over the first part of the Marathon Stage to avoid mechanical problems and lost out to category stage winner Amos Eugenio in SS2 by just a minute. Today they were again just behind the Italian but hold a 38 minute advantage in the category.

Cristina Gutierrez, currently topping the T3 classification, is again running well and the Spaniard is ninth overall and heads T3 in Kazakhstan. Second after the opening leg, due to a puncture and penalty, she and co-driver François Cazalet overhauled Pavel Lebedev in SS2 to take an advantage of more than 19 minutes into today’s section. However, they dropped over 15 minutes today, reducing their advantage significantly.

Vladimir Vasilyev, reigning champion of the 2020 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, suffered more disappointment after retiring from the first round in Spain last month; he collected massive penalties with turbo problems in the first section.

Two more selective sections remain before the finish in Aktau on Sunday June 13.

Partial Unofficial Classification after Leg 3


Mathieu Serradori/Loic Minaudier

Century CR6

9hr 24min 16sec


Yazeed Al Rajhi/Dirk von Zitzewitz

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

9hr 24min 38sec


Lucio Alvarez/Armand Monleon

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

9hr 40min 23sec


Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist

MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

9hr 52min 07sec


Denis Krotov/Konstantin Zhiltsov

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

9hr 57min 33sec


Ronan Chabot/Gilles Pillot

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

10hr 25min 16sec


Miroslav Zapletal/Marek Sykora

Ford F150 Evo

10hr 34min 18sec


Austin Jones/Gustavo Gugelmin

Can Am Maverick X3 (T4)

10hr 46min 05sec


Cristina Gutierrez/François Cazalet

OT3 OT3 (T3)

11hr 02min 20sec


Pavel Lebedev/Kirill Shubin

Can Am Maverick (T3)

11hr 05min 54sec